About this work:
All the music that we hear creates in us expectations of what we are going to hear in each subsequent work. The greatest composers, it has always seemed to me, have exploited these expectations by endlessly upsetting them in their compositions, by forever presenting us with something other than what we expected, persuading us, at the same time, that we probably wanted it all along. Composers like Mozart accomplished this sleight-of-hand even while apparently employing the conventional forms of their day.
There is no better opportunity to upset expectations than in the fantasy, which originated in the improvisational practice of instrumentalists in the sixteenth century. The spirit of the fantasy, of course, may be found in other compositions as well, and, as I began to discover an increasingly fantastic strain in my own work, I decided to write several pieces that would expecially incorporate unpredictability, unexpected juxtapositions, and passages which begin one way but then gradually assume an altogether different character. Fantaisie for flute and harp is just one of these compositions. Choosing the French spelling of "fantasy" was simply my way of acknowledging the role which the music of composers like Debussy and Faure has had in the development of my musical sensibility.
Although I know of no precedents for the particular form which emerged out of the composing of Fantaisie, there is nevertheless in Fantaisie a detectable classical influence in the clarity of its phrase structure and in the way in which each section is clearly distinguishable from its neighbors, features which should, in fact, make the "argument" of the music less difficult for the attentive listener to follow. In its wide range of characterizations and in the intensity of its expression, Fantaisie also reveals an unmistakably Romantic influence and, I suppose therefore, the emotional proclivities of its inventor too.
Fantaisie was written in 1994 for Lisa Hansen and Wendy Kerner Lucas, the members then of Serenata Ensemble, and first performed by them in New Canaan, Connecticut, on January 22, 1995. It was recorded for Capstone Records by Lisa Hansen and Susan jolles.
Score and part available from Mira Music Associates. Contact: email@example.com
Recorded on Capstone Records CPS-8644
Review: "Allen Brings's chamber music [Capstone CD, "Music da camera by Allen Brings"] is an expression of late 20th Century romanticism—sincere, honest, and tough-minded. His music relies on traditional materials in traditional forms, but there is something about it—a knowingness perhaps—that makes the overall effect more than backward-looking. It may be the particular kind of consciousness of the past that made our own age, when composers can combine elements of several different eras. Does it work as art? Or nostalgia? I don't know yet, but honorable efforts like his (and his fine, understanding interpreters) make me believe the answer may yet be a positive one."
Stephen D. Hicken
American Record Guide
Version: flute & harp
Year composed: 1994
Ensemble type: Chamber or Jazz Ensemble, Without Voice:Other Combinations, 2-5 players
Instrumentation: 1 Flute, 1 Harp
Instrumentation notes: Harp part predominantly diatonic with few pedal changes. Flute part fairly chromatic.